Rana Young, between public and private
Rana Young’s photographs employ themes of tension, voyeurism, and transition to represent interpretations of self. She constructs images that balance organic intimacy and cinematic theatricality by implementing symbolism, color theory, and seductive lighting.
Using a directorial approach and a single subject, Young creates an environment that transforms viewer into voyeur. The singular vantage point and lack of reciprocal gaze invite one to silently observe an unfolding narrative. The ambient photographs, which signify fleeting moments, mark points of personal evolution. Emphasis is placed on the threshold between public and private, as well as the implied or literal mirror embodying introspection. Life is comprised of moments navigating both literal and psychological space.
In describing “The Rug’s Topography”, the title of her new exhibition in Chicago, she states: “This series began with me photographing my intimate partner of six years. Simultaneously, we were facing an internal conflict: how we identified as individuals differed from the roles we occupied in our partnership. As we began to grow apart romantically, our anxieties rose in response to the distance widening between us. Our individual identities within a romantic context stemmed from the commonality of both having witnessed predominantly cisgender roles during our formative years. Our performance of those expectations was perpetuated by inexperience and an impulse to adhere to, or in my case “correct,” our potential family structure. Recognizing a shared inherent foundation opened our dialogue and together we began unpacking our preconceived notions regarding societal norms. Collaborating visually to express our reflections served as a catalyst for the reconciling of our emotional intimacy in the midst of separation. It is through the juxtaposition of gaze and gesture that we create blended self-portraits, expressing our emotions in relation to who we were and who we’ll become.”